Dr Duncan Reekie

aka Happy Cloud aka Ray Beam aka Gene Splicer

I was born in London in 1961 and I grew up in the suburbs around the Thames in West London. When I was about eleven I first got into Super 8 filmmaking by attempting to make a war film using my action man, fireworks and model railway scenery. At sixteen, along with my sister Ella and other friends, I formed the Punk Rock band the Anoraks who performed at the seminal Punk venue the Roxy in Soho. I first studied film at Hounslow Borough College with Mike Walker and I eventually wound up at the University of East Anglia in the early 1980's studying Film and Drama where I wrote and staged a couple of student plays. After University I worked with a small group of friends to make a collective Super 8 Psychobilly Horror feature film which was so ahead of its time that it's still not finished. Throughout the 1980's I worked on a series of film/script projects which never got off the page. Meanwhile, when I wasn't on the dole, I worked as a media tutor, paint sprayer, press assistant and a grill chef. To get access to filmmaking equipment I attended a Postgrad filmmaking course at Goldsmiths where I made a 16mm short called 'Only the Only' (1989). Around 1991 I got involved with a film group at the Cooltan, a squatted countercultural complex in Brixton and out of this group emerged the Exploding Cinema Collective. Ever since then I have been an activist in the London underground cinema scene. I have helped to organise numerous underground events, toured throughout Europe and produced a prodigious heap of films, performances and visuals for underground film events.

In 2007 I published Subversion : the Definitive History of Underground Cinema and I am currently working on a new book about the return of British underground film, D.I.Y. media and Pop-Up cinema.